Research shows that many consumers opt for a pasty or sandwich (Kantar) – often the same one every day at lunchtime. ‘Meal deals’ that throw in a fizzy drink and a bag of crisps don’t improve matters from a health perspective.

FMCG magazine The Grocer asked strategic design and innovation consultancy, Webb deVlam, to come up with fresh ways to fuel our busier-than-ever lives as part of its regular Creative Challenge. 

Taking findings from its Home of Ideas panel of 4,000 consumers across four continents, Webb deVlam produced three brand-new concepts to revolutionise and bring nutritional value to on-the-go dining, taking the Japanese bento box as inspiration.

The Balance Box is a simple, intuitive concept that allows consumers to monitor their nutritional needs via an app on their smart phone that can be synced up to other health-monitoring devices and social media. 

Consumer feedback showed that 64% of us want to know exactly what food we’re eating – and the Balance Box provides this detailed control.Whether you’ve had a sedentary morning or you’ve spent an hour at the gym, the Balance Box app will suggest what you should eat to meet your nutritional needs with its colour-coded system. The consumer can then pick four coloured ‘quads’ to make up a well-rounded meal that fits into a handy portable pack. The food quads and carriers could be made available at supermarkets and convenience stores – a neat, ‘smart’, quick and easy option for people who want to monitor their diets.

Counter the tedium of ‘al desko’ dining. 

The panel said that 61% of consumers love to try new things at lunch and wish there were more options. The Match Box provides the perfect solution as it offers consumers a whole new way to order and buy at the touch of a button. 

Hot and cold lunch boxes would be dispensed from vending machines, with Japanese-influenced emoticons helping consumers navigate the menus. Push the ‘crying face’ for comfort-food options; the ‘fitness bunny’ for healthy offerings; the ‘globe map’ for world-food meals, and the ’dice’ for a complete surprise!The ability to personalise meals would alleviate monotony, and vending machines could be installed at public transport hubs, in offices and food stores, maximising convenience.

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